Four Movies


The only good thing about a cold is that you can spend all day on the couch, with the lights off, wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot soup and watching movies. Last week, I bundled up, brought my Kleenex to the end table, and watched a small mountain of movies.

Here are the ones that I liked the most from my little binge:

Flawless: A movie about a 1960 jewel heist in London. The film is non-traditional, in that it is character oriented instead of plot oriented. Michael Caine does a tremendous job opposite Demi Moore, who seems (at first) terribly miscast, but grows on you. The script has a lovely surprise toward the end, and the sets are just plain lovely.

Australia: It got panned for a variety of reasons–some to do with length, some to do with subject matter–and I’m not exactly sure why. It’s a wonderful sweeping saga of Australia just before WWII. It brought out a lot of WWII details I did not know (and plan to look up). Hugh Jackman is terrific, as always, and Nicole Kidman very good. But the story doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to the young boy named Nulla (sp?) who narrates the tale–as he should, since he combines Aboriginal and white cultures that lead to the modern Australia. Some scenes are breathtaking, like the cattle stampede, which actually had me yelling at the set. If you can, see this on a big screen TV or in the theater.

Death at a Funeral: A veddy veddy British comedy, directed by Frank Oz. It is, as advertised, about a funeral, which everyone was hoping would be a dignified send-off for the family patriarch. Of course, it isn’t dignified and it goes from very proper to oh so improper that by the end…oh, well…you must see it. If I say too much I’ll spoil it. I did laugh so hard I nearly hurt myself.

A Good Year: In the DVD extras, star Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott mention that the movie has five strong women and no damsels in distress. I paused, thought about it, and realized they were right. I’m getting used to strong women in film. I hadn’t noticed anything unusual at all. This is the story about an unpleasant man who learns how to be a human being, something we’ve seen a million times. Only the flashbacks with Albert Finney, the French country house, and the characters are so charming and the ending so perfect that the familiarity of the story is a comfort instead of a problem. Now I have to look up Peter Mayles’ book on which the movie is based.

Clearly I’m back to work now and unable to watch a bunch of movies. But it was nice to spend the time (even if I was coughing through everything). I did note that all of the movies are either foreign made or set in foreign locales. Dunno what that means. Might simply have been my mood.

Click on the movie name for the trailers:

Death at a Funeral
A Good Year